Ukraine Shoots & Seizes Russian Eleron-3 Recon Drone; Are Kyiv & West ‘Studying’ Moscow’s UAV Technology?

Ukrainian forces have released a video of a downed hi-tech Russian unmanned aerial drone used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The downed Russian UAV is said to be an Eleron-3SV and was reportedly shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces, who later uploaded the footage of the drone.

The video shows the damaged UAV lying in a field as Ukrainian soldiers prepare to recover the debris. Reports suggest Ukrainian specialists will examine the drone to learn about Russia’s drone technology.

Eleron-3SV Reconnaissance Drone

The Russian military uses the Eleron-3SV for ISR missions to correct artillery fire and spot potential ambushes. It is part of the Eleron-3 remote observation system developed by the Russian company ‘ENICS’ for round-the-clock airborne optoelectronic reconnaissance.

The drone has a blended wing-body design with vertical planes along the trailing edges of the swept-back wing planform.

Eleron 3 drone Russia
Eleron 3 Drone

The nose of the aircraft is rounded, with an optics unit suspended on its underside that is capable of 360-degree traversal. The rear of the drone’s fuselage houses the powerplant that drives the twin-blade propellor unit. The blades are foldable and spring to action upon launch.

The drone has a take-off weight of 5.3 kilograms and can carry a payload of up to one kilogram. It can attain speeds of up to 130 kph and reach a maximum altitude of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet).

The endurance of the drone is up to 100 minutes. It is launched by a simple rail and can land by flying close to the ground and shutting its engine off.

Eleron-3SV (Wikipedia)

The mission payload of the Eleron-3SV is modular and can accommodate an Infrared (IR) camera/low-level/TV Camera combination unit or a TV camera/Thermal Imager camera.

The drone can perform various tasks involving remote observation and monitoring terrain and objects.

The drone’s software is said to implement several basic algorithms of UAV behavior, enabling it to fly in different modes, including autonomous or radio command modes. Also, it can automatically return to the starting point.

Each Eleron-3SV costs the Russian military a little less than $150,000.

Ukraine Using Electronic Warfare?

The Eleron-3SV entered the service of the Russian Armed Forces in 2013, and their regular use began in 2017. However, the Russian separatist forces used these drones in Ukraine before their official induction.

The first evidence of using the Eleron-3SV drone against Ukrainian forces was recorded in Donbas in August 2015. As EurAsian Times has discussed earlier, Eleron-3 has been one of Ukraine’s most commonly used Russian drones.

Since the beginning of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the Russian military has lost 16 Eleron-3 reconnaissance drones, including the one in the video, according to the latest figures compiled by the military tracking blog Oryx based on visual confirmations.

Of these, only two drones were destroyed, and the rest are said to have been captured, suggesting the effective use of electronic warfare systems by Ukrainian forces against these drones.

On October 3, Ukrainian forces claimed to have brought down an Eleron-3 UAV with the Lithuanian-made SkyWiper counter-drone rifle, also called the Electronic Drone Mitigation System (EDM4S) jammer.

As discussed earlier by EurAsian Times, the EDM4S jammer system is designed to engage small and medium-sized UAVs. Most Russian military drones, like the Eleron-3, Granat-1, Granat-2, Zala models, Orlan-10, etc., come under small and medium-size categories.

These drones are small enough to disappear once they reach a typical operating altitude of a mile to a mile and a half. Therefore EDM4S jammer system is well suited to counter the Russian drone capabilities.

edm4s - Twitter Search / Twitter
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny (Right) Holing Skywiper Counter-Drone Gun (Twitter)

Ukrainian forces have demonstrated the successful use of this system against the Mavic series of quadcopters made by the Chinese consumer drone manufacturer DJI which also comes under the small-sized UAV category.

On October 7, the Ukrainian military released a video showing a couple of Ukrainian soldiers, with one of them pointing the SkyWiper (EDM4S) rifle toward the DJI drone in the sky.

Soon after, the drone descends toward the Ukrainian soldiers’ position, and one of them grabs the UAV before it touches the ground.